By Anna Huong Nguyen, Gulf Coast
This article first appeared in the October/November issue of eat. drink. MISSISSIPPI magazine.
Pho (pronounced "fuh") is the comfort food of Vietnamese cuisine and has gained its popularity more recently among all cultures. I am fortunate enough to grow up on Pho; it was a comfort food in my family. We came to the United States in 1980. We were sponsored first in Memphis, then moved to Maine, where my dad found factory work for most of our childhood lives. We moved to the coast in 1999 and here we remain.
Pho is a labor of love that consists of a quick boil, then a long simmer to bring out all the flavors of the bones and spices. A bowl of Pho is made up of rice noodles, meats, bean sprouts, Thai basil, and the broth. The broth is what knits the soup together.
Ingredients for the broth:
Pho spices packet (Pho spice packages can be bought online or at any Asian market)
For the bowl:
beef eye round (thinly sliced)
thin sliced raw onion
hoisin sauce (to taste)
sriracha sauce (to taste)
Remove impurities from beef bones and marrow with a 5-minute boil – this quick boil is the path to a beautiful clear soup – then wash the bones to remove the residue.
Fill a large pot with water and add cleaned bones, beef, water, charred onion, charred ginger and spices (cinnamon, cardamom, coriander, star anise). Simmer for 3 hours.
Season broth with a couple cubes of rock sugar, a couple teaspoons of salt, and couple Tablespoons of fish sauce.
Prepare the bowl with rice noodles, thinly sliced eye round, bean sprouts, Thai basil, cilantro, and sliced raw onion.
Pour boiling Pho broth over and season with the desired amount of hoisin and sriracha sauces. Finish with a squeeze of lime.